Petropolis

If you've had enough hot weather and fun in the sun, and you want an interesting day trip or weekend getaway only an hour away from Rio de Janeiro, head 40km north to the mountain resort town of Petropolis. It is a steep ascent, 720m above sea level, but well worth the effort. A classy retreat for Rio's well-heeled set, going back to Emperor Dom Pedro II, who founded the city in 1843 and built his summer residence there, it boasts pleasant tree-lined streets, and a variety of palaces, mansions, and museums, and all-around spectacular architecture.
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Petropolis CathedralSurrounded by textile factories, it also is famed for its Rua Teresa where you can buy excellent clothing at bargain prices. In summertime, Cariocas head to Petropolis to take a breather from heat waves, and in winter they go to experience some "true" winter weather.

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Petropolis occupies a special position in Brazilian society, as many of the most prominent politicians, industrialists, and businessmen built stately mansions here as getaway houses. Thus, it is not cheap. That being said, with a bit of research, it is not prohibitively expensive.
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Outskirts of Petropolis

The downtown historic area, based around the Imperial Museum (former residence of Emperor Dom Pedro II) and the Cathedral is your best bet for day-time strolling and sightseeing, with Avenidas Koeler and Ipiranga especially worthwhile.
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If you want to experience the traditional German culture found in Petropolis, head there during the last week of June or the first week of July for Bauernfest, featuring German folk music, food, beer, and culture. Transportation is readily available between the Novo Rio Rodoviaria (Rio's main bus terminal) and Petropolis. Buses leave every 90 minutes, and cost R$15.
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Museu Imperial
Rua da Imperatriz
Tel: 2237 8000
www.museuimperial.gov.br
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